Rival protests fill streets of Venezuela on national Youth Day

Latin America

Supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader and self declared acting president Juan Guaido take part in a rally to press the military to let in US humanitarian aid, in eastern Caracas on February 12, 2019. – The tug of war between the government and opposition is centred on whether humanitarian aid will be allowed into the economically crippled country, which suffers shortages of food, medicine and other basics. (Photo by Federico PARRA / AFP)

The self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela has said humanitarian aid will enter the country later this month. Juan Guaido made the announcement during a big anti-government rally in the capital.

However, President Nicolas Maduro has said Venezuela doesn’t need any aid, and accuses the U.S. and other countries of plotting a coup.

CGTN’s Stephen Gibbs filed this report from Caracas.

There was a show of support for the opposition in Caracas on Tuesday. It was the country’s day of youth, and many of those joining the capital’s anti-government rally were young Venezuelans.

The person they had come to see is also a millennial: the 35-year-old opposition leader, Juan Guaido. He’s recognized as president by the United States and at least 40 other governments, who have said President Maduro rigged last year’s elections.

“Things are going well,” Guaido told the crowd. He promised them that relief, in the form of humanitarian aid, was on its way to Caracas.

“We are announcing that the 23rd of February is the day that humanitarian aid will enter Venezuela. So, from now on, everyone works together, the transport sector, nurses. We are organized,” Guaido said.

But the government of President Maduro, holding its own rally in the city, has said not so fast. It sees humanitarian aid as a form of external intervention.

That sets the stage for a showdown, perhaps at the unused bridge on the border between Colombia and Venezuela. The opposition has called for the guards there to let the aid in, and defect from the Maduro government.

There is no sign of that happening yet. However, as the global community has seen this past month, a lot can change in ten days in Venezuela.

Lisa Viscidi discusses the political and humanitarian crises in Venezuela

CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke to Lisa Viscidi about the tug of war for power between Maduro and Guaido in Venezuela. Viscidi is the director of the Energy, Climate Change and Extractive Industries Program at the Inter-American Dialogue think-tank.